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SaturdayJune 15, 2013

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Former Mexican Governor Arrested for Embezzling Public Funds

Former Mexican Governor Arrested for Embezzling Public Funds

Photo: Andres Granier

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The former governor of the southeastern state of Tabasco was placed under arrest Friday on suspicion of embezzling public funds, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.

Andres Granier and several associates are under investigation in connection with the apparent disappearance of 1.91 billion pesos ($152 million) from state coffers during his 2007-2012 term.

The politician, who had been living in the United States for the past few months due to health problems, returned to Mexico this week vowing to clear his name.

He met with federal prosecutors on Wednesday.

“I did not instigate, formulate, carry out or cover up any actions or omissions that caused harm to the public coffers of Tabasco state or unduly enriched me,” Granier, a member of Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, said afterward in a statement released by his attorneys.

Granier, 65, was hospitalized early Friday for heart problems.

Federal agents were sent to the hospital to inform Granier that he was under arrest, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said.

The federal prosecutors who questioned Granier earlier this week seemed more interested in the former governor’s net worth than in his actions in office, defense attorney Eduardo Luengo said Friday.

Granier is anxious to “face the accusations” leveled against him by Tabasco state prosecutors, his lawyer said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Uruguayan Soccer Coach Prepares Team Against Spain

Uruguayan Soccer Coach Prepares Team Against Spain

Photo: Oscar Washington Tabarez

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The manager of Uruguay’s national soccer team on Saturday continued to ponder his strategy and lineup for his team’s opening Group B Confederations Cup match against Spain.

“We know that Spain’s team is better than Uruguay’s right now. Their recent titles speak to that, but soccer is the team sport that gives the weak the best chance against the strong,” Oscar Washington Tabarez said.

To illustrate his point, he pointed to Atletico Madrid’s 2-1 upset last month of powerhouse Real Madrid in the final of Spain’s Copa del Rey tournament.

Uruguayan and Atletico Madrid defenseman Diego Godin, who will be one of the players responsible for containing Spain’s attack on Sunday in Recife’s Arena Timbu, played in that entire game at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Spain won the squads’ previous meeting, a 3-1 victory Feb. 6 in a friendly in Qatar, but Tabarez took some positives from the match.

“We lost because we made mistakes that cost us the result, but at times we went toe-to-toe and now we’ll look to do it again,” he said.

Referring to Spain, the reigning World Cup champions and winners of the last two UEFA European Championships, Tabarez said “it’s no secret” that the Iberian nation has “many players at a high level and very similar” in style, alluding to highly skilled offensive players such as Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and David Silva.

“We must be cognizant of our opponent’s great strengths. We’ll try to contain them and hold them in check while also creating problems for the team of my friend (Vicente) Del Bosque,” Tabarez added.

The Uruguayan manager has decided on eight of his starters for Sunday’s match, including goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, defensemen Maxi Pereira, Diego Lugano, Godin and Martin Caceres and strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Defensive midfielder Diego Perez also has his spot in the lineup assured, but it remained unclear what plans Tabarez has for 34-year-old striker and winger Diego Forlan, recipient of the Golden Ball as top player at the 2010 World Cup.

The Confederations Cup is an international soccer tournament held as a prelude to the 2014 World Cup, which also will be hosted by Brazil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Aerobics Routine by Peruvian Inmates Sets Guinness World Record

Aerobics Routine by Peruvian Inmates Sets Guinness World Record

Photo: Lurigancho prison

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Around 1,180 inmates at Lurigancho prison, Peru’s largest, danced and exercised non-stop for three hours to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest group of people taking part in a “full body” aerobics workout routine.

The prisoners trained two hours a day for the past four months as part of a rehabilitation program, Lurigancho’s warden, National Police Col. Tomas Garay, told reporters.

“The enthusiasm was such that we wanted to give out a first-place prize, but there were five inmates that did very well. There was a tie,” Garay said.

The intense exercise regimen has led to a reduction in drug use and violent incidents inside the prison, the warden said.

Garay defended Friday’s record-breaking aerobics routine, which came just days after five detainees jailed at Lurigancho pending their court hearing escaped from the overcrowded facility.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fauna that Lived in Ancient Mayan Times Survives Climate Change

Fauna that Lived in Ancient Mayan Times Survives Climate Change

Photo: Alejandro Morales

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Fauna that was prevalent at the height of the ancestral Mayan culture has survived prolonged droughts, hurricanes and the deleterious effects of climate change on biodiversity in the areas where the cities of that millennial culture stood, experts say.

That is one of the conclusions of expert Alejandro Morales of Guatemala’s Center for Wildlife Rescue, or Arcas, in his presentation on the first day of the 4th World Convention on Mayan Archaeology, which began Friday in the Guatemalan capital.

“Millennial Cities in the Mayan jungles, Urbanism and Environment” is the central theme of the three-day event, at which experts from several countries will present their respective studies on the subject.

Morales, who lectured about “Fauna of the Mayan Jungle and Its Adaptation to Habitat Fragmentation,” told how animal species have managed to survive despite climate change thanks to the natural process of survival.

The scientist bases his hypothesis on multiple archaeological studies made in areas where the Mayas lived, as well as on scientific and paleontological evidence from fauna remains found in their ancient cities.

The Mayan civilization, with its approximately 3,000-year history, inhabited an extended territory in Central America that is today divided into Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and southern Mexico.

The worst threat to felines, reptiles and other species that inhabit the jungles where the Mayan cities stood, according to the expert, is the presence of man, who hunts, traffics and ultimately destroys the fauna.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Should New Mexico Prepare for More Drone Testing?

Should New Mexico Prepare for More Drone Testing?

Photo: Drone testing (New Mexico State University)

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By Rob Nikolewski, New Mexico Watchdog

The use of drones is a hot-button issue across the country, but only New Mexico is home to the lone flight test center approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

With the controversy surrounding these unmanned aerial vehicles, state officials and potential business interests are keen to stress their positive applications.

“There has been a lot issues in the press about privacy,” Steve Hottman, director of the Physical Science Laboratory at New Mexico State University, told New Mexico Watchdog. “But there are a lot of different uses for these platforms.”

The university based in Las Cruces is home to the Unmanned Aerial Systems Technical Analysis and Applications Center, which was established in 1999 with the mission to “promote safe integration of UAS in the National Airspace System.” Hottman says six drones are in use at NMSU, including three radio-controlled aircraft trainers with wingspans of 22 feet.

“We’ve worked with these systems for 40-50 years,” Hottman said, highlighting the lab’s work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy and the FAA.

New Mexico Tech has also worked with drone technology at the university’s research center in Playas, and so has Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, where it was reported last month that 678 pilot and sensor operator students were enlisted this fiscal year to scan the skies.

In recent months, the use of drones by the Obama Administration against suspected terrorists and their potential use domestically has lead to plenty of debate.

In a May speech, President Obama defended his use of drones to assassinate suspected extremists overseas, including Americans, while at the same time asking lawmakers to join him in setting modest new safeguards for their use. In March, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has attacked the Obama administration’s in a Senate filibuster, saying it was setting a precedent that the federal government could order the killing of American citizens on U.S. soil without first convicting them in court

This week, the state senate in Oregon passed legislation aimed at regulating police and government use of drones. That law would ban official drone use unless authorized by statute. Drones would be allowed for emergency situations such as finding a child lost in the woods or fighting a fire, but police would be restricted in how they can use gathered information.

Read more at Watchdog →

With Pellegrini Out, Malaga Hires Bernd Schuster

With Pellegrini Out, Malaga Hires Bernd Schuster

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Former German international Bernd Schuster will manage Malaga CF for the next five seasons, the Spanish club announced Friday.

Schuster, who has played for and coached some of Spain’s top teams, succeeds Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, who resigned last month and was named Friday as the new manager of Manchester United.

Malaga directors said they are counting on the 53-year-old German “to develop a solid, long-term project.”

Schuster, who was a part of Spanish championship squads with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, will be assisted at Malaga by former Getafe stalwart Fabio Celestini.

He began his managerial career in his homeland and went on to run Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk before returning to Spain to coach Levante, Getafe and Real Madrid, which won La Liga under Schuster in 2008.

Pellegrini left Malaga after three successful seasons that included the Spanish side’s first-ever appearance in the elite UEFA Champions League.

Malaga made it as far as the quarterfinals in the 2012-2013 Champions competition.

But while the club’s sixth-place finish in La Liga would have qualified them for a berth in the Europa League, Malaga is barred from European competition in 2013-2014 due to financial irregularities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ecuador Arrests 7 Tourists Attempting to Smuggle 1,300 Sea Cucumbers

Ecuador Arrests 7 Tourists Attempting to Smuggle 1,300 Sea Cucumbers

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Ecuadorian authorities arrested seven foreigners after finding a total of 1,313 processed sea cucumbers inside their luggage, the Galapagos National Park Service said Friday.

Airport X-ray scanners detected “strange packages” inside the baggage of the seven passengers boarding a flight to mainland Ecuador, the park management said in a statement.

The tourists were taken into custody and will faces charges.

The sea cucumber is a protected species included in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, of which Ecuador is a signatory.

Galapagos is home to 37 species included in CITES’ appendices.

Sea cucumber fishing is authorized in certain seasons, depending on the results of a population study and under strict controls, park management said.

Located roughly 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off the coast of continental Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago comprises a marine and land reserve covering 132,000 sq. kilometers (50,965 sq. miles).

The islands, which were declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 1978, were made famous by 19th-century British naturalist Charles Darwin, whose observations of life on the islands contributed greatly to his theory of evolution and natural selection.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration UnReform

Immigration UnReform

Photo: NewsTaco

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By Dr. Herny Flores, NewsTaco

One of the funniest and saddest things I have observed in my carrier as a political commentator is the multi-ring circus currently performing in Washington DC in the halls of Congress.

Millions of people marched in 2006 placing immigration reform on the front page of American news. 

Since then there has been a burgeoning movement to bring forth legislation that would substantively reform our current unmanageable immigration system.Image

This is refreshing and badly needed. The funny side of the debates surrounding the reform process is watching our national legislators posture, making proclamations of the great reforms they are putting forth while at the same time making their position available to negotiation. 

Other words we can substitute for negotiation are “water down,” “dilute,” “kill completely.” A good example of this is Senator John Cornyn, embarrassingly, of San Antonio, TX a community that is more than 70% Latino and continuing to grow even more so daily. 

I don’t think that Senator Cornyn has bothered to read the most recent census reports on what the trends are in his state but he better.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Walmart de Mexico Considers Selling Restaurant Business

The Mexican subsidiary of U.S. retail giant Walmart said Friday it had put its Vips restaurant business, which includes the chains Vips, El Porton, Ragazzi and La Finca, up for sale.

In a regulatory filing, Walmart de Mexico said it had “started a competitive process to consider potential third-party offers” for Vips.

“This process is in its early stages and there can be no guarantee that a sale will take place or other terms and conditions of a potential transaction,” the filing said.

It noted that Vips is “an industry leader” in Mexico with 364 establishments serving approximately 79 million customers annually and employing nearly 18,000 people.

The Vips restaurant business eclipses that of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, whose Sanborns chain has 164 store-restaurants, and Corporacion Mexicana de Restaurantes, which owns the Wings and Chili’s franchises in Mexico and has 116 establishments.

At the close of 2012, “Vips accounted for 1.7 percent of consolidated sales of Walmart de Mexico and 1.6 percent of its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization),” the filing said.

After the announcement, Walmart de Mexico’s shares were up 0.36 percent in early trading on the Mexican Stock Exchange.

Read more by HS News Staff →

11-Year-Old Mariachi Defies Racists, Sings National Anthem Again

11-Year-Old Mariachi Defies Racists, Sings National Anthem Again

Photo: Sebastian de la Cruz

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The racist backlash that followed an 11-year-old Hispanic boy’s rendition of the national anthem before game three of the NBA Finals in San Antonio didn’t deter the Spurs from inviting the young mariachi to perform at game four of their series against the Miami Heat.

Sebastian de la Cruz’s performance, which was perfect, immediately sparked all kinds of criticisms and commentaries denigrating Latinos and immigrants.

That brought a strong defense of De la Cruz, who gained fame as a contestant on “America’s Got Talent.”

Thursday night, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and his wife escorted young Sebastian - again in full mariachi costume - to center court at the AT&T Center.

The youngster’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” earned a standing ovation from the capacity crowd and coaches Gregg Popovich of the Spurs and Erik Spoelstra of the Heat walked out onto the court to congratulate De la Cruz, a San Antonio native.

Castro called De la Cruz an example for young people all over the world because of his talent and class as a human being, and said he represented all the children of San Antonio and of America.

Before the tip-off to start the fourth game, Popovich denounced the authors of the racist comments about De la Cruz and offered praise for the young singer.

“He’s a class act. Way more mature than most his age. And as much as those comments by the idiots saddens you about your country, he makes you feel the future could be very bright,” the San Antonio coach said.

De la Cruz came out to sing the national anthem before the third game because the person ABC had engaged, country singer Darius Rucker, was unable to make it on time due to flight delays.

Sebastian de la Cruz’s performance at Game 3:

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilians Protest on Eve of Soccer Tourney

Brazilians Protest on Eve of Soccer Tourney

Photo: Protests in Brazil (bfernandes)

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Social movements launched protests here Friday as Brazil readied for the start of the Confederations Cup soccer tournament.

The mobilization in Brasilia was meant to highlight the amount of public money spent on the competition and the evictions of mainly low-income people the six cities that are hosting matches.

The roughly 50,000 Brazilians who live on the streets “receive no attention from a government that spends millions on a soccer tournament,” a group representing homeless people said.

Friday’s protest outside Brasilia’s National stadium coincided with the release of a report from the U.N. Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, noting that sports mega-events “often result in forced evictions, displacement, sweeping operations against the homeless and a general augmentation of the cost of adequate housing.”

“The situation is, unfortunately, not different in Brazil as we speak,” she said.

Brazil’s minister of sport, Aldo Rebelo, said neither the demonstrations in Brasilia nor Thursday’s disturbances in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo over a hike in transit fares will disrupt the Confederations Cup, which is seen as a dress rehearsal for the much bigger 2014 World Cup tournament in the South American nation.

Police in Sao Paulo were criticized for their heavy-handed response to the protests, which saw dozens injured and 237 people arrested, including journalists.

Sao Paulo is not one of the six venues for Confederations Cup matches.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain, Venezuela Renew Political Dialogue

Spain, Venezuela Renew Political Dialogue

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Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo and Venezuelan counterpart Elias Jaua had a meeting Friday in Madrid that proceeded “on very cordial terms,” the ministry said in a communique.

The note said the meeting also served to relaunch a political dialogue.

It was the first meeting between the ministers following the controversial results of April’s special presidential election in the Andean nation.

Margallo and Jaua discussed the chief topics on the bilateral agenda, “agreeing to continue the political dialogue relaunched in this meeting,” the Spanish foreign ministry said.

The two men noted the “good trade relations” between their countries, which in 2012 amounted to 2.88 billion euros ($3.84 billion), and urged its growth and improvement.

Margallo emphasized “the excellent qualifications and competitiveness” of the Spanish companies operating in Venezuela, and recalled that Spain “continues to be one of the principal investors in the country.”

Margallo said Thursday that Spain “hasn’t burned any bridges” with Venezuela, adding that it has had frequent meetings with Venezuelan authorities, the most recent with Caracas’ erstwhile ambassador in Madrid, now a member of the Nicolas Maduro government.

Jaua said Friday that relations with Spain are developing with “normalcy and respect,” and that all he asks of its government is “not to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fernandez Administration Appoints Panel to Investigate Train Crash in Argentina

Fernandez Administration Appoints Panel to Investigate Train Crash in Argentina

Photo: Train collision in Argentina (@pellegrini87)

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President Cristina Fernandez’s administration has appointed a commission to investigate a railway accident that left three people dead and 315 injured, the Argentine government said Friday in the official gazette.

The panel’s scope “is independent of any judicial investigation initiated to determine possible (criminal) responsibilities, without prejudicing collaboration with the judiciary,” said a statement signed by Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo.

The accident occurred in Castelar, located 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) west of Buenos Aires, at 7:07 a.m. Thursday, when a commuter train headed for the city of Moron on the Sarmiento line hit an empty train that was stopped on the tracks.

Authorities are determined to improve the country’s troubled passenger rail service, Randazzo told Argentine radio on Friday.

“We will redouble the wager,” the minister said. “We work many hours every day to improve the service. Many, many things have been done, and that’s still not enough.”

The brakes on both trains involved in Thursday’s crash “were completely new,” he said, rejecting suggestions the accident was due to faulty equipment.

Twenty-five of the 315 people hurt remain hospitalized, including three who are in intensive care, according to the deputy health minister in Buenos Aires province, Sergio Alejandre.

The Sarmiento line was also the scene of a February 2011 accident that left 51 people dead and more than 600 injured.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drug Traffickers Blamed for Massacre of Cops in Guatemala

Drug Traffickers Blamed for Massacre of Cops in Guatemala

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Drug traffickers were behind the killings of eight police officers in the western province of Quetzaltenango, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Friday.

Three distinct drug outfits operate in the region and the intelligence services are “investigating which one is responsible” for Thursday night’s attack on the police barracks in the town of Salcaja, the president said.

“The agents were surprised while they were resting,” Perez Molina said.

The commander of the police unit in Salcaja, Carlos Augusto Garcia, was taken captive by the assailants. His police radio was found later in a home near the barracks, investigators said.

Wearing ski-masks, the attackers arrived at the police barracks in two vehicles, entered the building and shot the cops - some of whom were in bed - at close range, according to accounts from witnesses and officials.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SaturdayJune 15, 2013